All systems go for 2019 school year in GP

Tuesday, January 8, 2019

Gauteng Education MEC Panyaza Lesufi says it's all systems go for the 2019 school year in the province. 

“We believe that all has been done to ensure a smooth start to the first day of school and that learning and teaching will commence without any disruptions,” said the MEC.

To kick off the first day of school, Gauteng Premier David Makhura, together with Lesufi and Infrastructure Development MEC Jacob Mamabolo, will hand over the newly constructed Menzi Primary School in Tsakane, Ekurhuleni.

“This is an important milestone, as the school is among our newly designed and constructed mega school infrastructure aimed at improving the quality of education in township schools,” said Lesufi.

The school is a green technology infrastructure, which boasts state-of-the-art facilities such as 33 smart classrooms, a Grade R block with 5 classrooms, 2 smart science labs, 2 smart multi-purpose rooms, library, dining hall and many more, at a cost of R105 508 403.

Due to the demand for space in Gauteng schools, the MEC also announced that Tshepisong, Mayfield and Centurion Primary Schools will also be opened this month of January to address demands in high pressure areas.

Admissions placement

Tallying up the applications and admission numbers for Grade 1 and 8 online admissions, the department said it received 282 823 early applications for the 2019 academic year. Of these, 266 613 (94.3%) are placed, whereas 16 210 (5.7%) applicants have not responded to offers or calls to submit documents.

“We appeal to parents to accept placement offers by the district, as these are the only available spaces,” said Lesufi.

Late applications

In November, the department opened for late online applications on 28 November 2018, with only 1 068 schools available for application.

On the same day, a total of 945 of 2013 schools with Grade 1 and 8 entry grades reached capacity and were no longer available for any further late applications.

“As at 7 January 2019, a total of 205 schools reached capacity and 863 schools still have available spaces for immediate placement.

“The department received a total of 24 228 late applications, and of these, 19 803 applied by 15 December 2018, while 2402 applied during school holidays,” said the MEC.  

Of these applications, 8 090 (33.4%) have successfully been placed; while 16 138 (66.6%) are provisionally placed and will be finalised when documents are submitted.

“Parents are urged to submit the required documents to finalise placements. Furthermore, parents are advised to submit the required documents (birth certificate, ID copies, proof of address etc) immediately after placement,” said Lesufi. 

All districts are operating as walk-in centres to assist parents with applications from 7 – 31 January 2019.

The most common challenges reported at walk-in centres include the following:

•             A large number of parents are new applicants;

•             Follow-ups on appeal outcomes;

•             Existing applicants trying to re-apply;

•             Late Applicants requesting transfers to schools that are no longer available in the system due to capacity. Applicants will not be transferred to schools that are no longer available in the App. What you find in the App, is what is available.

•             Relocations and placement in inner grades.

Overcrowding Interventions

To address the issue of overcrowding in schools, in Tshwane South, Wierdapark Primary School will be relocated to the New Centurion Primary School and will be provided with new furniture and the necessary support in order to temporarily accommodate approximately 400 Grade 8 learners in Centurion that are not placed. 

A secondary school is also being planned for the area.

The most challenging needs are experienced by Johannesburg Central, Tshwane South and Tshwane West. Johannesburg Central had no space to accommodate 304 early applicants in the Southern Suburbs. Die Fakkel High School and Ormonde Primary School are prepared to accommodate excess learners.

However, Die Fakkel High School would require additional mobile units. Further, Ormonde Primary School has no sewerage system.

In Tshwane West, 1 016 Grade 1 and 831 Grade 8 learners who reported to the district are not placed. Hoërskool Hercules was identified to accommodate the 831 Grade 8 learners. The Department of Infrastructure renovated four additional classrooms.

“Mobile units will be utilised to accommodate the 1 016 Grade 1 learners. The district is exploring alternative means to accommodate learners.

“Unplanned financial implications of admitting late applicants are substantial. Additional funding will have to be found to finance educator salaries, additional classrooms, learning and teaching support materials and school furniture. Procurement processes are also not instant but can take weeks to complete,” said the MEC.

Lesufi assured anxious parents that the department is doing everything possible to place all unplaced learners.

“We appeal for patience, calm and cooperation in the interest of learners,” he said. –